Long jumper Murali Sreeshankar was eager to hit the Olympic qualification mark of 8.22m at the Indian Grand Prix in Patiala in March, but returned home disappointed after two legs of the event were postponed due to COVID-19.

As the nation went into a two-month lockdown, the 21-year old was frustrated by the vagary of isolation at his home in Palakkad.

“As athletes we are always used to going out and compete. And all of a sudden you are sitting between four walls, hoping things will get better. I had to look for new ways to keep myself fit,” Sreeshankar told Sportstar.

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The lockdown, however, turned out to be a blessing for the national champion once he started focusing on strength and mobility. Under the watchful eye of his father and coach M. Murali, he went through rigorous weight training at his home gym. Sreeshankar could feel a spring in…

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